Posts Tagged ‘salmonella’

Salmonella Linked to Hatchery Chicks


In response to the recent article in the Chicago Tribune’s  Health section on the dangers of raising chickens, here is a blog post that I wrote earlier this year.

An article on Yahoo News documented over 300 cases of Salmonella illness, linked to one hatchery, between 2004 and 2012. Alarming? I’d say not – that is just under 40 cases per year. However, the CDC advises that children under 5 not be allowed to touch chickens at all. There is also a risk of salmonella with reptiles.

As one member of a discussion group I’m part of pointed out, kids have a greater chance of being injured by an automobile. While the symptoms of Salmonella include bloody diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain, the illness is rarely fatal.

As with other pets, practice good hygiene by washing hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water after touching animals and especially after coming into contact with poop.

Salmonella Linked to Hatchery Chicks


An article on Yahoo News yesterday documented over 300 cases of Salmonella illness, linked to one hatchery, between 2004 and 2012. Alarming? I’d say not – that is just under 40 cases per year. However, the CDC advises that children under 5 not be allowed to touch chickens at all.

As one member of a discussion group I’m part of pointed out, kids have a greater chance of being injured by an automobile. Symptoms of Salmonella include bloody diarrhea, fever, and stomach pain, and the illness is rarely fatal. As with other pets, practice good hygiene, washing hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water after touching animals and especially after coming into contact with poop.

Salmonella outbreak linked to chicks and ducklings


An outbreak of 25 cases of  Salomonella Altona has been linked to chicks and ducklings in the eastern United States, including NC, PA, OH, and IN.

Symptoms include diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps. The disease can be diagnosed with a stool sample. Onset takes 2-3 weeks, and symptoms usually last 4-7 days.

For more information and tips to protect yourself from Salmonella Altona, read the full post on the Center for Disease Control’s website.

The Scoop on Salmonella in Eggs


For those of you who have chickens, you may be asking, “How safe are MY eggs from Salmonella contamination?”

The good news is, they are likely VERY safe.

Salmonella are bacteria that live in human and animal intestinal tracts. The bacteria can pass in fecal matter and so may be found in soil, water, and other matter that has come into contact with fecal matter.

So how do the bacteria get into eggs? There are two ways this might happen:

1) Chicken poop gets on the shell of the egg. The bacteria pass through the pores and proliferate inside the egg.

2) An industrial egg-laying hen whose ovaries are contaminated with salmonella bacteria passes the bacteria along in the egg-formation process.

Solutions are fairly simple.

1) Give your hens adequate space and good living conditions. This includes clean food and water daily. Hens in poor living conditions, like battery-caged layers, are more susceptible to illness (like salmonella) due to overcrowded, stressful living conditions. In your backyard coop, one nest for every four hens is adequate.

2) Keep your nest boxes free of fecal matter. Wood shavings are good for this, because the poop can easily be scooped out in clumps, much like clumping kitty litter.

3) Collect your eggs daily and refrigerate them right away. Industrial eggs have many stops: candling, sizing, packaging, shipping, shipping again, shelf stocking. Along the way temperatures can fluctuate, leading to bacterial growth. Keeping your eggs refrigerated will prevent this.

4) Wash your eggs only when you are ready to use them. When a hen lays an egg, she secretes a wet covering that seals off the pores from pathogens. If you see a freshly laid egg, you will notice that it looks wet and then quickly dries. This is called the cuticle or bloom. Keep this coating intact until you are ready to use the egg. Brush or sand off any foreign material that is on the eggshell.

5) Cook eggs completely. Cooking eggs to 160 degrees will prevent illness.

If your hens are contaminated with salmonella, you will most likely have built up immunity to the particular strain they carry.

Enjoy your fresh eggs!

(Sources: Damerow, Gail. “Backyard Chicken Eggs Are Safe,” and Jansen Matthews, Lisa. “Safe Egg Handling,” both in Backyard Poultry, October/November 2010, 6.)

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